Veterans, active-duty military invited to attend and be honored at ‘Governor’s Veterans Service Award’ ceremony on Jan. 23

BILL HODGES PHOTO
From left, Paul Wheat (U.S. Army) and Ed Barnes (U. S Navy) sport their Governor’s Veterans Service Awards. Tune in to Sun Radio WSCQ 96.3 FM at 3:30 p.m. on Jan. 11 or 16, when they will be talking about the program on Veterans Corner hosted by Bill Hodges.

By PHYLLIS HODGES

Sun City Center residents Ed Barnes and Paul Wheat are spearheading an effort to get the word out about Governor Rick Scott coming to South Hillsborough County to honor veterans and active-duty military personnel who are Florida residents.  He will be bringing a “Governor’s Veterans Service Award” for each of them. The governor created this program in 2014 by executive order. Since then, he has been visiting communities around the state to personally present the awards.

Lauren Schenone, Scott’s press secretary, said, “Governor Scott believes it is important to recognize Florida veterans for their courage and countless sacrifices in defense of our country. The governor is incredibly grateful for their service and looks forward to the opportunity to present the Governor’s Veterans Service Award to veterans in Sun City Center later this month.”

The event takes place on Tuesday, Jan. 23, at the Sun City Center Community Association Community Hall, 1910 Pebble Beach Boulevard S. Registration for honorees begins at 8:30 a.m.; the ceremony starts at 10. Honorees are encouraged to wear any service-related attire they wish (hats, shirts, etc.).

Eligibility includes:

a) Serving honorably in the U.S. Armed Forces, U.S. Coast Guard, Florida National Guard, or U.S. Reserve Forces; or

b) Honorably discharged or retired from the U.S. Armed Forces, U.S. Coast Guard, Florida National Guard, U.S. Reserve Forces or Merchant Mariners with veteran status.

Some form of identification that validates veteran/military status is required  (DD-21, VA ID card, Retirement ID, Military ID, “V” for veteran designation on driver license, etc.).

This event is open to the public; family, friends and other interested parties are welcome. To help with planning, those planning to attend are strongly urged to RSVP online at www.surveymonkey.com/r/GVSA . If possible, honorees are asked to download the registration form at www.FloridaVets.org/gvsa and take the completed form to the event to speed the on-site registration process. Forms will be available at the door as well.

The Governor’s Veterans Service Award program was initiated by executive order in 2014 by Governor Rick Scott. He is presenting the awards personally at communities throughout the state.

Paul Wheat (U.S. Army) and Ed Barnes (U.S. Navy) were the first residents in this area to receive a Governor’s Veterans Service Award. They received them at the Brooksville ceremony after they heard about the program and decided to go to that ceremony to learn more about it.

Both Wheat and Barnes will be guests on Sun Radio’s Veterans Corner segment to be aired on Thursday, Jan. 11, and Tuesday, Jan. 16, at 3:30 p.m. (WSCQ 96.3 FM). This is a new program hosted by Bill Hodges that is dedicated to south county veterans and veteran affairs.

For more information, call 727-518-3203, Ext. 5572 or 850-487-1533.

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